Last week, we learned about the creation of Waymo, the new name for Google’s self-driving car division, and now we’ve been given a look at its new line of self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans.
Waymo CEO John Krafcik revealed all in a blog post on Medium, where he explains how the fleet of 100 minivans come equipped with Waymo’s suite of driverless tech.
Google announced in May it had partnered with Fiat Chrysler to produce the fleet, marking the first time the company had worked with a car-maker on developing autonomous driving technology.
The minivans are set to hit public roads in 2017 and come complete with a range of updated sensors, an all-new computer, and other “major system updates”.
Krafcik writes: “Over the last six months, the joint program team has been working to design and engineer the modifications to the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid that would allow us to integrate our new fully self-driving systems.
“Using several of our early prototype minivans, we’ve already run a gamut of tests, including over 200 hours of extreme-weather testing.”
Waymo says it has already tested the Chrysler Pacificas at its own test track in California, at Fiat Chrysler’s Chelsea Proving Grounds facility, and its Arizona Proving Grounds.
Waymo’s own engineers worked together with Fiat’s staff at a Michigan engineering site, allowing the new Pacificas to be modified to work better with Waymo’s technology.
Related: CES 2017
Last week Bloomberg reported that Waymo is working with Fiat Chrysler on a further fleet of semi-autonomous Chrysler Pacificas, which will be used to establish a ride-sharing service that could launch next year.
Google’s parent company Alphabet announced the creation of the Waymo division last week, following speculation that Google had scrapped its self-driving research.
Waymo aims to make its technology available to outside companies, including car manufacturers and ride-hailing services, rather than developing its own self-driving car.
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Let us know what you think of the new minivans in the comments.